The San Francisco 49ers have finished 2-14 three times. So even if they lose the rest of their games, they won’t set any franchise records for futility. But this year’s offense is on its way to doing just that.
Only once has the team finished 32nd in points and yards in the same year. That was 2007, when the offensive coordinator was the great Jim Hostler, and the quarterbacks (in order of attempts) were Trent Dilfer, Alex Smith, Shaun Hill and Chris Weinke.
— The leading passer was Dilfer. He led the team in yards (1,166), touchdowns (7) and interceptions (12). However, Dilfer’s rating (55.1) ranked fourth on the team, a shade worse than Smith (57.2). Hill (101.3 in two starts, both 49ers wins) probably should’ve gotten more playing time.
— The leading receiver was Arnaz Battle. He had 600(!) yards.
— Frank Gore was the lone bright spot of the offense. (Say, when have you heard that before?) He finished with 1,102 yards and five touchdowns.
The 2015 San Francisco 49ers went into today’s game — a listless 27-6 loss in St. Louis that was quite possibly the most disgusting game I’ve ever sat through, when you consider the quarterback play from both sides and the officiating crew — ranked 32nd in both yards and points. After today’s meager output of 189 yards (the fourth time in the last six games they accumulated less than 200), those rankings will not change.
The offense was wretched again today, but that wasn’t a surprise. There were on the road, against a tough Rams defense, without Carlos Hyde and Anquan Boldin. Then Reggie Bush got hurt after sliding into the side wall at the end of a punt return, thanks to the concrete surface on the perimeter of the always-terrible Edward Jones Dome playing surface. (Although, let’s face it, Bush doesn’t usually need help getting hurt.)
Colin Kaepernick’s passes weren’t accurate and he didn’t see uncovered receivers. The gameplan was totally vanilla. They lost Mike Davis later in the game, leaving them with Kendall Gaskins as their only running back. Passes were dropped.
But in the end, the 49ers accomplished their goals. Despite not replacing him with Blaine Gabbert at any point during a game in which he struggled, Kaepernick didn’t get hurt. The 49ers can cut him after the season at any point before April 1, but his contract is injury-protected. So they want to keep him healthy. Also, they kept the final score semi-respectable. Losing by 21 is better than losing by 30 or 40, right? Right? Anybody still watching?
And now the 49ers will “adjust” at halftime with one goal and one goal only: avoid getting blown out by 20+
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) November 1, 2015
Down 21 with seven minutes left: three-yard out on 3rd-and-6, then a punt on 4th-and-3. Nothing has changed. https://t.co/5k95fkmAkc
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) November 1, 2015
Kaepernick gets most of the blame from Niner-sympathizers, and the offensive line rightfully gets criticized quite a bit as well. And when you compare this year’s line (Staley-Boone-Martin-Devey-Pears) to the line from 2007 (Adam Snyder, Larry Allen, Eric Heitmann, David Baas, Justin Smiley and rookie Joe Staley), you have to wonder if this team will finish with worse stats than that squad from eight years ago. It doesn’t help that the 49ers couldn’t do any better than Geep Chryst as their offensive coordinator.
1999 Chargers (Chryst OC): 28th pts, 26th pts 2000 Chargers (Chryst OC): 26th pts, 28th yds 2015 49ers (Chryst OC): 32nd pts, 32nd yds — Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) November 1, 2015
2007 49ers: 13.7 points per game (no safeties allowed)
2015 49ers: 13.6 points per game (two safeties allowed)
— The 2007 Niners went 5-11, because that defense had rookie Patrick Willis (who was simply amazing that season) and veteran Bryant Young. The 49ers don’t have a young, dominant player or a veteran leader on their defense this year.
— The 49ers haven’t scored a touchdown in 130 minutes and 52 seconds.
— Ahmad Brooks had the most Ahmad Brooks day ever: an offsides and another penalty that negated a fumble recovery for a touchdown by … Ahmad Brooks, who grabbed Benny Cunningham’s facemask, then saw the ball loose on the carpet, then grabbed Cunningham’s facemask again for good measure on his way to pick up the ball.
— The Rams are a decent quarterback and one more receiver away from being a Super Bowl contender. Nick Foles is awful, but Todd Gurley might be the best running back alive. I guess not all draft-eligible players coming off ACL tears are to be avoided after all.
— Remember when the 49ers were the team no one wanted to play, because the physicality and fearlessness of their defense intimidated teams before games even started? Gurley broke 100 yards with ease, and one has to wonder if he even sustained as much as a minor bruise.
— Jerome Boger seems a little too giggly and confused to be a lead official in the NFL.
— Not the best game for Bruce Miller. Multiple penalties and a dropped pass in the end zone.
— Good thing the 49ers waived Jarryd Hayne! Their primary running back and punt returner (Bush) lasted less than a quarter, Bruce Ellington isn’t exactly an ironman, Mike Davis isn’t any good AND he got hurt, and Kendall Gaskins wasn’t up for the challenge. Hayne is not ready to be a lead tailback by any means, but this team is just so damned BORING. Throw us a bone, Trent! Winning the turnover battle doesn’t mean much if the team loses by three touchdowns (or, as the 49ers probably think about that kind of deficit, seven field goals).
— Here’s a play that will haunt Kaepernick this week (and maybe longer). Was that on Kaepernick to audible, or does Chryst even allow him that freedom anymore?
— I wrote about Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper two days ago, and mentioned how Crabtree has more receiving yards than Torrey Smith or Anquan Boldin (and the Raiders have already had a bye week). Crabtree went for over 100 yards against the Jets today.
— We can pretty much close the book on the whole “will the Raiders win more games than the 49ers” thing. After the Raiders beat the Jets handily to move to 4-3, the answer is YES.
— Torrey Smith clearly hates playing with Kaepernick. And it’s getting harder and harder to blame him.
— Jerome Simpson led the 49ers with 34 receiving yards. But why is he even playing? If the 49ers are going to tank — and it’s clear they’re in that dreaded mode, now that they’re 2-6 — why not play guys like DeAndrew White? Why start Bush in the first place? Why not just release Bush and play every young running back on the roster and see if anyone breaks through? Why throw passes to “Slow-mo Vernon Davis” (Greg Cosell mentioned multiple times this past week that the Cliff Avril did a fine job sticking with Davis on a wheel route last Thursday, so no other team would ever trade for him now) when Blake Bell was a guy they drafted to possibly replace him? Why, why, why indeed. Nothing this team does makes any sense anymore.